For the first time in Melbourne, representatives from Ehime Prefectural Governments promotional and economy and labour departments brought their famed produce down to Melbourne for promotion. Ehime is located on the far west side of the Shikoku region in Japan and famous throughout the country for their citrus produce to the point that they grow so many varieties that at any point during the year, they are always growing or harvesting some type of citrus fruit.
In the hopes that they will bring their produce down to Melbourne for retail sale, the Ehime team made a trip down to the Prahran Market for a special promotional event held at the Neil Perry Kitchen.
Iron Chef Ikuei Arakane, or Kin-san, as he is commonly known by, prepared five canapes all centred around the citrus and miso produce that had been brought down from Ehime to demonstrate the ways in which they can be used in cooking. Other than the canapes, various citrus juices, marmalades, jams, Ehime citrus based mocktails and cocktails and even some of Ehime’s sake was up for tasting at the event. Horse Bazaar’s superstar bartender, Fumi Tamura created and prepared the cocktails and mocktails for the event.
The event began with some welcome drinks and general chat, which was then followed by a speech from Tetsuya Takaoka (Industry Policy Division’s Assistant Manager), who introduced Ehime as a prefecture with an abundance of produce and handmade goods to the people of Melbourne, who may not have heard of the prefecture before. Some of the highlights of Takaoka’s presentation included some interesting facts about their citrus, information about other products such as Imabari Towels and their ship manufacturing as well as Ehime’s passionate initiative to make Ehime a “Cycling Paradise”. This initiative encourages people of all ages to get involved in cycling either for fitness, fun or just making friends. The prefecture hopes to hold a cycling event open to people all over the world sometime in the near future.
Along with Takaoka, Hitoshi Yamashita from the Industrial Policy Divisions Economy and Labour Department, and Seigo Takahashi from “Love & Smile” Ehime Promotion Headquarters also attended the event, speaking with guests about Ehime and answering any questions people might have relating to the prefecture and their products.
Within ten minutes of opening the event, the Neil Perry Kitchen was flooded with eager guests looking to try the canapes, drinks and produce up for tasting.
Upon chatting with a number of guests, it became clear that Ehime’s products were overall very well received by most of the attendees, so much so, that many even asked about purchasing products right then and there!
Personally, I was pleased to hear that people were enjoying the unique tastes of the citrus products and were already thinking of how to use them in their homes as well. I’m not usually a fan of marmalade, however, the Iyokan Marmalade and the Mikan Jam were both extremely delicious! Of the juices, I tasted both Kiyomi juice and Iyokan. Kiyomi was particularly delicious with it’s perfect balance between sweet and sourness, but it’s sour sister Iyokan was also delicious! The Iyokan juice had a little bit more of a sourness and acidity to it than Kiyomi, however, it was the sort of juice that felt like it would be a very refreshing choice for a picnic on a summer day and would be a great addition to blended fruit juices!
Overall the event was a huge hit and the Ehime team hope to see the relationship between Ehime and Victoria grow as they were looking forward to potentially coming back again very soon.